What is SEO? – A Basic Guide

Online is a growing area for many businesses, so it makes sense for you to be represented as well as possible by your website.  The first struggle is to make your site visible on search engines such as Google.  The range of skills that lie behind “surfacing “ your website in the search engine result page is collectively known as SEO.

 

A brief explanation of SEO and the basic concepts

Put simply, SEO is the art of making your site more visible online without resorting to paid advertising.

The skills behind this are many, but typically include advertising copywriting, branding, technical skills and a keen eye for monitoring and improving the copy based on the real world results that have been obtained.

It’s a more involved process than it would seem to the untrained eye, and the potential savings in PPC advertising spend is why successful companies invest in SEO.

 

Understanding meta descriptions and meta titles

Meta descriptions and meta titles are your signboards on the internet. They give your business the chance to lay out its key propositions and products to the wider online world.

Whilst these things do change and expand over time, the basic rules apply

Meta titles need to be 55 characters or less – They need to give a product or service title at the very least. Typically in e-commerce platforms, they will contain the product model number and the SKU.

The meta description is a longer paragraph that is displayed in search engines underneath.  Whilst work is currently underway to extend the amount of text that can be displayed most SEO’s currently work to a limit of 155 characters.  Obviously, if the character limit is extended, it will make sense to increase the amount of text to include more information on your products and services.

 

Finding keywords and why it’s important for your site

Keywords are the lifeblood of search.  Whilst you may be lucky enough to be a household name, such as hoover, who has become synonymous with a product, for most companies, you will need to compete for sales. Gaining leads, enquiries and sales.

To do this we use a number of tools and methods.

Firstly we analyse your current site. Just because you are changing your supplier, there is no need to throw away the work that has already been done.

We will look at the PPC information and average position over time and retain the pages that are currently performing well.

We will then use a number of tools at our disposal to find better keywords for the products that you offer.  It is surprising how much variation in search terms can result from even small changes.  However, it’s not all about picking the best-rated term.

For example, if you were a seller of ladies handbags, you are likely to first consider three or four keyword terms.

Bags will be the biggest in terms of audience volume.  However, it is a very general term and will include everything from school satchels to bin bags.  The competition level here is likely to be higher and you are less likely to rank.

Conversely, the term “ladies handbags”, whilst still being relevant to a few thousand people per month is less likely to be searched.  The reason being that handbags are primarily a female-oriented item.  There isn’t likely to be a significant need to signify the gender the bag is intended for.

The optimal term, in this case, is likely to be a “handbag”, as it doesn’t signify the gender of the user, whilst lowering competition for the term from the larger, overarching category of “bags”.

It’s important to understand the difference in the terminology, once you do of course your competitiveness increases.

 

The importance of treating the website as a holistic product for both SEO and PPC

A website is almost alive, it can change in its operation and it needs to be able to react to the way the usage of language evolves and shifts.  This is why we always recommend treating the SEO and PPC functions of online marketing as a complementary and holistic system.

Not only does looking after the entire site as a whole improve the keyword density of the site and give SEO and PPC extra terms to grip on to, but it also makes the site and the associated keywords more realistic.

 

It also makes it easier to manage the site, as you under one platform what is required.  For these reasons, we suggest making the site changes as holistic as possible

 

An explanation of sitemaps and robot text

Sitemaps and robot text are a simple way of ensuring that search engines know where to look.  This is set up in a standard format and stored in a standard location on each website that is online.  It is surprising how many site developers forget to re-enable this important code, but your site is unlikely to launch

The standard location for these files are: www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml and www.yoursite.com/robots.txt

If you have been suffering from problems with your SEO, then why not give the experts at DOM Marketing. A call to see if we can sort out your problems.